xml:space="preserve">

Key matchup

Texans NG D.J. Reader vs. Ravens OC Matt Skura: Reader is 6-feet-3 and weighs 347 pounds. Because of the girth, he is tough in the middle to move and usually draws two blocks. Reader has good initial burst and enough quickness to penetrate and cause problems in the backfield before plays develop. Reader has 27 tackles this season, which is impressive for a nose guard. He also has 2.5 sacks and four quarterback hurries. Reader has good lateral movement and works well from tackle to tackle. Skura will have trouble with the bigger Reader but his quickness should allow him to post up and gain some leverage on Reader, which will help with double teams. At the beginning of the season, Skura was expected to be a liability but he has improved and been a steady force in the middle.

What’s at stake

A win would give the Texans their first at Baltimore in franchise history (0-4) and improve their record to 3-7 overall against the Ravens. A Texans win would push Houston’s record this season to 7-3 for a third time, trailing 2012 (9-1) for the best through Week 11 in team history as well. The Ravens are riding a five-game winning streak, its longest in regular season play since 2006 (also five games). If the Ravens win they would have beaten the top team in the AFC, the New England Patriots, as well as the third best in Houston.

Advertisement

Under the radar

The Ravens and their fans have been hyping second-year quarterback Lamar Jackson for league MVP honors. But if the Ravens defeat Houston, Jackson would have beaten Seattle’s Russell Wilson, New England’s Tom Brady and Houston’s Deshaun Watson. Wilson appears to be the favorite in the MVP voting and Watson is right there with Jackson, but a win versus Houston has to push him to the top. He’ll have beaten two of the favorites and possibly the greatest quarterback of all time. Of course, it all comes down to the final record but at least Jackson will be making a strong case at this point.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement